ashton potter wright headshot



Ashton is The Food Connection’s second Executive Director and is responsible for crafting the center’s strategic vision and overseeing program and service implementation. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Rhodes College, a Master of Public Health degree from Georgia State University, and a Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of Kentucky. Ashton is passionate about supporting Kentucky farmers in accessing new markets and creating sustainable value chains for their food and farm products. She is also keenly interested in educating students and the general public about where their food comes from and how consuming nutrient-dense locally-grown food supports health, increases social connectivity, and cultivates economic vitality. She also works closely with UK’s dining partner and other stakeholders to identify best practices for farm to institution procurement. Her favorite Kentucky-grown foods are farm fresh eggs and spinach (on a scratch made biscuits made with Kentucky-grown flour of course!), and her favorite kitchen tool is her grandmother’s cast iron skillet.

Krista Jacobsen headshot



Krista is an associate professor in the Horticulture Department and directs the Sustainable Agriculture and Community Food Systems (SAG) undergraduate program. In her time at The Food Connection, she coordinates the Student Opportunity Grant program, assists with grant writing, event planning, and food systems research activities. Outside of the Food Connection, Krista’s research is focused on soil health and nutrient cycling in organic vegetable systems, and she dabbles a bit in local wheat and other small grains. She teaches introductory and upper-level courses in the SAG program, and an occasional study abroad to Indonesia. Her favorite Kentucky-grown food is a freshly dug carrot, and her favorite farm tool is a BCS walk-behind tractor.

Tanya Whitehouse Headshot



Chef Tanya is both the heart and brains of our culinary programing. As the former Sous Chef of Holly Hill Inn for Ouita Michel, she brings both her culinary expertise and a passion for Kentucky-grown foods to our programing. You’ll find her both in our learning kitchen and out in the community inviting students and professionals, children and adults to gain new skills, explore new flavors, and enjoy new experiences. Chef Tanya passionately believes that we are inexorably tied to what we eat and that sitting down to a meal together can connect you with other people in a way nothing else can. Tanya’s favorite Kentucky food is her grandma’s recipe for ketchup, and her favorite tool is her 10” chef’s knife. Tanya leads a number of programs for our community members throughout the year.

Bryan Brady family



Bryan is our expert in the field… literally. Through his work with our Cultivate Kentucky Partnership, he works directly with specialty crop producers and local food aggregators (e.g. Food Hubs and Produce Auctions), providing ​on-farm technical assistance and education on food safety (GAP, FSMA), quality management, and general wholesale readiness. Bryan helps farmers find cost-effective solutions to entering the local wholesale marketplace and connects them with resources to support them on that journey. Bryan’s favorite Kentucky food is a cooked down pot of white half-runner beans and salt pork, and his favorite tool is an instant read thermometer.